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MonkeyNotes-As You Like It by William Shakespeare
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Notes

The final scene ends in total happiness, with the resolution of all conflict. Rosalind sheds her disguise to reunite with her father and to wed Orlando. Oliver is delighted to find out that he is really marrying Celia instead of the poor Aliena. Phebe accepts that she cannot marry Ganymede, who is really a woman, and decides to wed Silvius instead. Touchstone and Audrey are also able to finally tie the knot. Amidst the wedding bells, the middle brother of Orlando and Oliver arrives to give more good news. Duke Frederick is a changed man and has decided to restore the dukedom to Duke Senior and return all confiscated lands to the rightful owners. The religious and moral conversion of Duke Frederick is totally contrived and hard to accept, but it allows Shakespeare to resolve all of the conflict in the play and tie up all of the loose ends.

The appearance of Hymen at the weddings is very significant. He is the advocate of marriage and procreation as the basic bonds of society. Shakespeare wanted to make it clear that he was not advocating free love in this romantic comedy; instead, like Hymen, he supports true love, commitment, and responsibility in marriage. It is also significant that Hymen sings about love. Music has been a motif throughout the play.

Although all of the happiness in the play has been brought about in the Forest of Arden, the visitors are now ready to return to life in the city. Duke Senior is particularly excited to get back his dukedom, and Oliver seems relieved that he is marrying a city girl rather than a poor country maiden, who would keep him in the forest. Only the melancholy Jaques will not be returning. He will inhabit the "abandoned cave" of Duke Senior. It is ironic that throughout most of the play, he criticized pastoral life, yet he is the only one from the city who chooses to remain in the Forest of Arden.

At the end of the play, there is music and dancing. In truth, the whole play has been a dance between characters. Shakespeare carefully developed the relationships between Rosalind and Celia, between Rosalind and Duke Senior, between Rosalind and Orlando, between Celia and Oliver, between Oliver and

Orlando, between Audrey and Touchstone, and between Phebe and Silvius. The master of drama orchestrated these relationships with perfect harmony until the finale of the music is reached in the last scene of the play. As always, Shakespeare has created a masterpiece.

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